SJC MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS STAND TRIAL
Tomorrow, Wednesday 23 July 2014, twenty-one SJC members and supporters will stand trial at the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court. The trial follows an act of non-violent civil disobedience on 11 September 2013. On that day, we chained ourselves to the railings outside the office of Mayor De Lille.
We were driven to this action by the unrelenting broken promises and ongoing intransigence of the Mayor – on developing an implementation plan for the janitorial service in particular, and the crisis of sanitation facing the City’s informal settlements more generally.
Instead of engaging with us, as was requested in the statement we issued on the day, Mayor de Lille refused to meet the SJC or send a representative to do so. Rather we were met with upwards of 30 law enforcement officers from SAPS and Metro Police who proceeded to arrest and detain us for 10 hours at the central Cape Town police station.
Twenty-one SJC members and supporters were charged with contravening the Regulation of Gatherings Act by convening and attending an illegal gathering.
The trial of the twenty-one accused has been set down for two days. To support those who are facing charges for peacefully protesting in the struggle for clean, dignified, and safe sanitation we will be holding a protest outside the court tomorrow and Thursday.
Members of the media are invited to attend the trial and the protest.
Location: Cape Town Magistrates’ Court, 7 – 11 Parade Street between Albertus Street and Caledon Street
Time: 10h00 – 14h00
Dates: 23 & 24 July 2014 (24 July to be confirmed)
The janitorial service was established in 2012 after sustained lobbying by the SJC. Hundreds of thousands of people in the Cape Town’s informal settlements make use of communal flush toilets every day; if the service is running properly it greatly improves access to clean, safe and dignified sanitation across the City.
Over a period of more than two years, we repeatedly showed however that the consequences of failing to produce an implementation plan for the janitorial service were severe, life threatening, and undermined the health, dignity, and safety of janitors and the communities that they serve. Our memorandum of 25 June 2013, details the litany of commitments made by the Mayor on this matter as well as the consequences for not having followed through on these commitments.
The SJC has recently completed a social audit that more deeply investigated the service. Our preliminary audit findings show that the implementation of the service remains inconsistent and haphazard, suffering from a severe lack of planning and consistency. Many toilets remain in states of disrepair for months; janitors are exposed to illnesses because not all are inoculated; and the distribution of janitors across areas is unequal. The result is that residents are left without access to safe and dignified toilets, posing life-threatening risks to the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the city.
For comments please contact:
074 386 1584
079 840 5865
083 674 0552